Macleod Sawyer, CEO of OpenLeaf & Co.

Food insecurity is a threat to our existence.

According to the Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, 12.3 percent of U.S. households, or 15.6 million households, were food insecure in 2016. Food insecure means that members of the household have a difficult time getting enough to eat at some point during the year because they lack resources. Usually, children are shielded from hunger, and adults will go without food so younger members can eat. But 3.1 million households still had children who experienced food insecurity, which was similar to pre-recession levels in 2007*.

This is inhumane, and a grave injustice of the government that we are apart of. No one should ever be hungry, no one should ever have to go without food when needed. The very basis of all societies has been the abundance of food in the population, the more food a society has and shares amongst themselves the higher the rate of education, literacy, innovation, and thoughtfulness.

The very first priority a government should have is to ensure that the citizens have access to clean food, clean air, and medical services. Everything else comes secondary after the freedom of the people. When a government fails to act in accordance with the majority of the people, then something is incredibly wrong. When children are left hungry and thirsty and we as a society let this happen - something is wrong.

When a mother has to call 911 to request assistance because she could not afford food for her four children, and had to go from church to church and organization to organization and be told that they couldn’t help - then something is wrong.

No one should be hungry, not only for the personal reasons that all people should live happily (some would dispute this) but additionally for the benefits that society would have if the populace was given a constant supply of the very things that are the basis of existence - food, water, and medical attention. Without these, we are just animals preying on those who are smaller (in capital) than the others.

This is not acceptable, we as a society need to reinvest in our greatest and most basic infrastructure, the people. This needs to change.

The percentage of food insecurities are progressively going to rise, especially as the population increases and as the government continues to harm the people that make up the country by removing benefits of the people by cutting food stamps, by removing corporate regulations, and lowering the taxes on the wealthy.

The population is going to increase by two-billion and become a staggering nine-billion by 2050 worldwide. The requirement for food production to keep up with that rate, will need to increase by an additionally staggering 75%. If we don’t start increasing the amount of food security and redistribution to everyone, and we don’t invest in our society through innovations in agriculture, and in all other industries then we will fail even more people.

We need to refocus our government and social policies by investing in more renewable food production, and by investing more into the people by directly funding and developing a real plan for food to stop the food insecurities that are plaguing our society.

*statistics written by Jassica Lai of mom.me